10 common mistakes to avoid during international pet travel
International pet travel is not always easy – some countries have complicated pet import regulations that are not always easy to understand, and some others have a laundry list of requirements which never seem to end. Many pet parents do not travel with their pets because they are put off by the lengthy requirements.
An experienced pet travel agency can help you with all the requirements and ensure your pet dog or cat has a pleasant pet travel experience. If you are planning to travel with your pet, be sure to avoid these common pet travel pitfalls:
Waiting till the last minute to begin travel plans
International pet travel is not as straightforward as it is for humans. The entire process can be time-consuming depending on the country you are travelling to. Some countries have a mandatory waiting period of 30 days for the rabies vaccine to take effect. If the country requires a rabies antibody test, your pet will have to wait for 180 days after the test to be able to travel.
The pet relocation process is long and requires a lot of documentation; details of every vaccination, health test and treatment have to be carefully documented before travelling. If you are looking to travel with your pet, it is a good idea to read about the pet import regulations of the country and plan your trip accordingly.
Forgetting to visit the vet for a health assessment
Your pet will need a clean bill of health before international travel. Make vet visits your priority before beginning on your travel plans. Your vet will help you with the documentation and address any underlying health issues your pet might have before travelling. Most countries have a post-entry check where officials will examine your pet for signs of disease and sickness. If your pet does not appear healthy, they will have to spend extra days in quarantine, or worse sent back to the origin country.
Speak to the vet about treatment for internal and external parasites; countries such as New Zealand have a strict no flea policy and even the presence of flea dirt on your pet will mean extra treatment and increased quarantine days.
Most countries require pets to be fully vaccinated before travel. However, some countries have additional requirements above the usual core vaccines. Your vet will be able to assist you with the vaccinations required for pet import.
Buying a used or non-IATA-compliant pet crate
The pet crate is perhaps one of the most important aspects of pet travel. Most pet parents would like to save on the expense of a new pet crate by buying a used crate. Airlines are very particular about the pet crates, and if the crate does not conform to IATA regulations, the airline will not board your pet.
A used crate is not recommended for international pet travel for hygiene reasons. The crate must be sturdy and well-ventilated. It must be big enough for your pet dog or cat to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably.
Waiting till the very end to buy your pet’s crate
For many pet parents, the pet crate is last on the list during international pet travel. However, it should be one of the first things to buy because the longer your pet has the crate, the more comfortable they will be during the flight.
Crate training is essential for international pet travel. Your pet must associate the crate with a comfortable and positive space. Be patient with the crate training and your pet will soon be a seasoned traveller, unfazed by long haul flights and transit stops.
Forgetting to update the microchip
The microchip is an important aspect of international pet travel. The microchip is a tiny device that is implanted under your pet’s skin. When a scanner is passed over the chip, it emits radio waves that the scanner picks up to display the microchip number which is unique to the pet. With the microchip number, customs officials and vets can retrieve your pet’s details.
Most countries globally require a microchip for international pet travel. Implanting the chip is not enough, you must remember to update your contact details on the microchip every time it changes. If your pet is lost or runs away during travel, they can be traced back to you via the chip, and that is why it is crucial to keep the microchip updated.
Not checking the airline’s pet policy
All airlines do not have the same pet policies; some airlines are more pet-friendly than others. Always check the airline’s pet policy before booking your pet on the flight. Some airlines have a list of prohibited and restricted breeds and will not board these breeds under any circumstance. Some airlines do not board pets at all. Every airline has their own set of rules when it comes to pets, and it is best to understand the rules before planning your travel.
A pet-friendly airline has safety policies that are meant to protect your pet and ensure zero-harm pet travel. If you are unsure about which airline is best for your pet’s travel, reach out to your local pet travel agency for more advice.
Not having the right documentation for international pet travel
Just like people need the right travel documents to travel internationally, our pets need their records too. Every country has different pet import regulations, and all criteria must be satisfied for your pet to be allowed entry into the country. If your pet does not have all the necessary documentation in the format prescribed, they might be sent back to the country of origin or spend extra time in quarantine where they will be retested at your expense.
If you are daunted by the long list of documentation required for international pet travel, reach out to an experienced pet travel agent to help with the paperwork.
Ignoring extreme temperatures during international pet travel
Many pet parents do not factor the weather while planning pet travel. Extreme temperatures are detrimental to your pet’s health, and most airlines have temperature embargoes to safeguard pets. Most pets, especially snub-nosed breeds such as pugs, bulldogs and others, are at risk if the temperature is very high. Many airlines do not fly snub-nosed breeds if the temperature at the origin or destination is higher than 40oC.
Remember to book your pet on flights during the cooler times of the day like early morning or late evening in the summer and in warmer times of the day in winter.
Forgetting to keep your pet’s food and medicine handy during travel
If your pet is flying long haul, they will need food and medicines (if any) during the journey. Remember to attach the food and medicine to the travelling crate for your pet to eat during the layover. Instructions for the correct dosage must accompany the medication. Airline staff will ensure your pet has access to the food and medicine during layovers.
Getting stressed and anxious about the pet travel
International pet travel can be daunting and stress-inducing. There are many uncertainties, especially during Covid-19, and it is easy to lose perspective and become anxious. Despite that, the pet parent must stay calm during the process. Pets are very intuitive and can easily pick up on your moods and emotions. When you approach their travel with positivity and calmness, your pets will set off on their adventure without stress.
An accredited pet travel agency can assist with the journey and ensure that you do not make any of these pet travel mistakes. If you are planning to travel with your pet, reach out to the team of experts at Petraveller for more information on international pet travel and a free travel quote.